Saturday, February 27, 2010

Every Silver Lining has a Touch of Grey

From the 'be careful what you wish for' file, it seems the nexus of modern data networks and post 9/11 security protocols have made the use of good old fashion forged passports and travel documents impossible.  When Israeli intelligence wanted to infiltrate a hit team into Dubai to kill Mahmoud al-Mabhouh, they knew they had fewer options than they would have even just ten years ago.  Because the target was in Dubai, they couldn't effectively use Israeli passports because of the scrutiny and suspicion they would cause in an Arab nation, and they couldn't just forge a passport with false names anymore, because the linked databases would instantly show the travel documents to be fraudulent.

So what did they do?  Simple, if horrifically cold-blooded and arrogant.  They took the information from the passports of foreign nationals residing in Israel and forged passports from their native countries using the actual data and pictures of the assassins.  Sure, this had all the potential to ruin the lives of the people who's identities they stole, if not put their lives at risk in retaliation hits, but the Mossad can't be bothered with niceties like that when there's extra-judicial killing to be done on foreign sovereign soil.

So, can one hope that this will cause governments around the world to rethink kinetic actions on foreign soil?  To some extent, it certainly will.  I suspect that many international intelligence agencies have seen the firestorm this set off and have already initiated a program to create a library of false identities and populate the international databases with forged travel documents that don't point back at actual living persons.  You know, just for contingencies.  But in the meantime, for all the ultimate harm done by a global surveillance state, here's something of a benefit to regular people - actual restraint from even the most brutal governments.

Hey, at least it's something.

No comments:

Post a Comment